Rudyard Kipling: Activist and Artist

Rudyard Kipling: Activist and Artist

Rudyard Kipling: Activist and Artist

Rudyard Kipling: Activist and Artist

Synopsis

In this unique Indian response to Kipling's writings and view of the Anglo-Indian world, a distinguished Indian scholar points up the influences that colored Kipling's imagination and pervaded his mature writings. In addition, he gives a particularly full examination of the intellectual atmosphere of the late-Victorian age and its writers who helped shape Kipling's mode of expression. Of particular value to English-speaking readers is Professor Shahane's discussion of Kipling's idiolect, which is marked by preponderant use of Hindustani words and a peculiar mixture of Hindu syntax and English grammatical structure.

Excerpt

Rudyard Kpling: to many of us that name brings back memories of reading in childhood (or being read to), and of the poet whose jingoistic rhymes jingled wonderfully. After we grew up, many of us no longer succumbed to the cadences of Mandalay, Gunga Din, Danny Deever, and the others. We had learned about Empire, and hadn't liked what we learned.

Yet the charm of Puck of Pook Hill couldn't be shaken away, and the iron march of those soldiers in all the Romanarmy stories remained with us like pulse beats-and how right Edmund Wilson seemed when he spoke of the enduring excellence of those tales. But Kipling seemed to most of us only a minor and dated author.

It was a bit of a shock to find J. I. M. Stewart, in 1963, in Eight Modern Writers (the twelfth volume of the Oxford History of English Literature Series), discussing Kipling seriously along with Joyce, Lawrence, Henry James, and a few others we considered the authors of stature. But those of us who have enjoyed the surprises Mr. Stewart provides under the pen name of Michael Innes shouldn't have been too crushingly overcome by astonishment. The odd part of the experience was that, without stretching the odds, Mr. Stewart quietly and implicitly made out for Kipling what is usually called a good case. And there were other serious writers who dealt with Kipling as a serious writer, for example that very fine critic Bonamy Dobrée. Of course we knew that T. S. Eliot had earlier even prepared an anthology . . .

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